By Arul Louis,
United Nations : Maldives is currently going through a peaceful transfer of power to opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was elected president last month, the nation’s Permanent Representative Ali Naseer Mohamed has assured the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Speaking at the high-level General Debate of the UNGA on Monday, he said that September 23, the day the presidential election took place, was an “extraordinary daya for the country and it “was a moment that makes every Maldivian proud of how far we have come and the excellent progress the country has achieved.”
“Following the election, the Maldives is currently going through the process of transfer of power from one elected government to the other,” he said.
On Saturday, the country’s Election Commission declared Maldivian Democratic Party candidate Solih the winner of the presidential election, overruling the defeated President Abdulla Yameen’s efforts to delay the announcement of the results.
“The accelerated process of democracy in the Maldives is going in tandem with faster growth in social and economic development,” Mohamed said.
The elections came after a tumultuous period during which Yameen had imposed a state of emergency earlier this year and had arrested former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as well as Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed and charged them with treason.
Solih was also arrested along with scores of opposition leaders.
Maldives Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim was scheduled to address UNGA last Saturday but after the president’s defeat he did not show up and Mohamed, who spoke in his stead, was the last speaker at the concluding session of the high-level General Debate.
Mohamed praised Yameen for what he said was the progress recorded by the Indian Ocean archipelago nation during the last five years under his rule.
Without naming any countries, Mohamed said “the the principle of international law that governs the friendly relations and cooperation among states are being challenged at a fundamental level.”
“There is therefore a need for countries big and small to return to the right side of law,” he said.
During the country’s turmoil, India insisted on Maldives adhering to democracy and Yameen began a drift towards China.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)